Heading home for the holidays or gathering at your loved one’s house? This time of year can be a great opportunity for you to take a closer look at how your aging parents and older loved ones are doing.
The following checklist, presented by Nurse Kim, will help you quickly and quietly determine any red flags that will showcase current or progressive health issues.
Strength & Balance: Is your loved one navigating through the house safely? Look for unbalanced behavior like grabbing railings or the wall to keep them upright. Look for shuffling of the feet when they walk rather than picking up their feet to walk properly. A simple solution that can help would be to buy a new pair of non-slip shoes or tape down any rug corners which can prevent them from tripping.
Personal Hygiene: Is your loved one nervous to get into the shower? Is their laundry piling up? It’s common for elder adults to become hesitant to take a bath or shower because they have a fear of falling. Laundry can become more of a hassle and be difficult too. If you notice these things, add a grab bar in the shower and non-slip bath mat. Offer to do their laundry or hire a caregiver to come take care of their daily chores and laundering needs.
Social Situations: Is your loved one forgetting things? Are they removing themselves from social engagements and conversations? Are they getting lost? These signs can be more than just aging and often result in a neurological disorder like dementia. The best and fastest approach would be to contact their primary doctor and attend a consultation or wellness checkup with them.
Weight Loss: If your loved one normally cooks, are they cooking regularly? Are they eating full meals or routinely going food shopping? A great way to get an idea of their eating habits is to open their fridge and look for expired or moldy food. Also, see how much food is in their fridge and pantry. If they look thinner than normal, contact their physician and schedule a checkup. They may need to add enhanced milkshakes or beverages, like Boost, into their diet.
If you are seeing these signs and concerned about your loved one’s health, it’s time to have an honest, kind, and loving conversation with them. If you feel that hiring or being hired as a caregiver is the best option, please contact our Navigator, Angel, at 267-298-1668 and let us guide you through the process.